Pregnancy for a lady comes with a lot of responsibilities, more so when it comes to her diet. She will have to choose what to eat and what to avoid be it in a choice of drink, food or alcohol. The advice on what to take keeps varying from person to person and from place to place and at times, it gets controversial. This shows how important a woman’s eating habit is to the child’s future health and development.
In a recent study at King’s College London in collaboration with the University of Bristol, there were findings that a diet rich in high fats and sugar during pregnancy can alter a fetus’s DNA, leading to changes in the brain that can result in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Below are what health experts think on what to eat during pregnancy.
How a child’s taste is set in the womb
Studies have shown that at five months of development, a fetus starts to recognize flavors through the amniotic fluid that comes from the foods consumed and drinks taken by the mother. This leads to a belief that what tastes babies are accustomed to while still in the womb contribute to determining their preference for certain foods and drinks in later life.
In a particular study, women who took a specific flavor of juice during their last trimester gave birth to babies who preferred the same juice flavor during weaning, it has also been proved that those mothers eating a lot of junk food while pregnant and or breastfeeding raise children with the same preference in food.
Following a healthy diet has been found to be beneficial to both the mother and child with research showing that maternal diet can be both positive and negative to a child’s taste preferences. It is advisable for expectant women to get all their vitamins from food and not from supplements which are considered as unnecessary expense apart from vitamin D and folic acid.
The normal weight gain during pregnancy is supposed to be related to the presence of a baby; this is averaged to be around 12 kgs. A mother should avoid eating too much during pregnancy as gaining a lot of weight during this period can raise the risks of getting conditions and gestational diabetes among other complications. If possible, a pregnant woman needs only an additional 200 calories per day on the last trimester.
Taking properly cooked food
Expectant women must avoid taking foods that may risk their health through the eating of contaminated foods like undercooked meals, rear meats, unpasteurized cheese, poorly washed vegetables and salad among others, as these have a higher likely hood of causing food poisoning. Infections, dehydration, and fever that are likely to come from this can seriously cause harm to a fetus.
Salmon in, but Sushi out
It has been proven that eating oily fish like salmon has immense benefits to a pregnancy, children
born of mothers who regularly included salmon in their diets during pregnancy are rarely likely to
suffer from asthma. However, the number of fish should be limited to two per week as fish contain pollutants and contaminants found in fish can harm the developing fetus.
Fish like marlin, shark, and swordfish should be avoided due to the high content of mercury in their meat. At the same time eating raw fish should be avoided as they may contain some parasites and worms that may harm the growth of a fetus.
Taking of alcohol, especially within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy has been linked to high chances of miscarriages, low birth weight, and premature births. If at all an expectant woman decides to drink, they are advised not to take more than two units in a week.
It is safe to exercise during pregnancy as it helps with protecting against weight gain, diabetes, and depression, it also helps to build energy and stability, this helps with prevention of problems associated with conditions such as back pain.
Whatever the choice of exercise, be it running, weight lifting, or swimming, it is important to work below the moderate intensity to keep from dehydration and injury. The best gauge while undertaking your choice of exercise is to do it up to where you are still able to hold a conversation.
Most exercises are considered safe; however, impact sports and activities that have risks of being injured like a trampoline or team sports should be left alone. Doing sit-ups and crunches should also be stopped before the third trimester because they strain the abdominal muscles which do stretch during pregnancy.